Friday, January 16, 2009

Bartlett: Newt's power plays "decimated" House GOP

In crafting a Republican strategy for stimulus, former Treasury Department economist, Bruce Bartlett, lays intellectual blame at the Bush administration's door step, and structural deterioration on former Speaker Newt Gingrich:

Congressional Republicans are clearly suffering from having depended on the White House for all their ideas since 2001; their ability to think for themselves has atrophied. Republicans also suffer from a severe deterioration in the quality of their infrastructure. House committees were decimated by Newt Gingrich in 1995 in order to centralize power in the Speaker's office.

Eric Cantor sounds like the next Jack Kemp:

There is a market out there for some ambitious Republican to take on a role similar to the one Jack Kemp played in the late 1970s. Like now, Republicans had just lost the White House and suffered severe losses in Congress.

But Kemp recognized that in a political drubbing there is also an opportunity for new ideas to break through and get a hearing. Kemp found that there are always innovative thinkers out there happy to do pro bono work for a congressman or senator willing to adopt their ideas and champion them.

And Bartlett's own suggestion for the way forward:

I think Republicans should try to be the party of investment, because Democrats are basically the party of consumption.... While some Democratic spending will be called "investments," Republicans can make a strong case that the only ones that really add to the nation's capital stock are those directed by the market. Historically, government-directed investment has been very inefficient.

Keep reading for details on what that investment would look like...